Cardinals activate DL J.J. Watt from IR ahead of Wild Card game vs. Rams

Jan 17, 2022, 2:12 PM
Arizona Cardinals DL J.J. Watt returns to practice Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/...
Arizona Cardinals DL J.J. Watt returns to practice Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)
(Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)

He’s back.

The Arizona Cardinals officially announced on Monday that defensive lineman J.J. Watt has been activated off of the injured reserve ahead of the team’s Wild Card matchup against the Los Angeles Rams.

Watt was designated to return from the IR on Friday, Jan. 7, and did not hit the practice field for the first time until Thursday before Arizona faces the Los Angeles Rams in a Wild Card playoff game Monday.

On Wednesday, the defensive lineman spoke to reporters for the first time since undergoing surgery on his shoulder dislocation.

Watt dislocated his shoulder through the back, he said, taking with it his rotator cuff, labrum, capsule and infraspinatus while also dislocating the lineman’s bicep tendon in the process.

Whether he’s on a snap count or not, the return of the three-time Defensive Player of the Year brings an automatic boost to the Cardinals.

The defensive lineman appeared in Arizona’s first seven games of the year and played through the injury in the 31-5 win against Houston on Oct. 24.

Over those games, he posted 16 tackles, seven stuffs, a sack and a forced fumble. Per Pro Football Focus, Watt tallied 28 pressures, highlighted by 11 QB hits and 16 hurries.

In his only outing against the Rams this season (Week 4), Watt recorded two QB hits and three hurries in the 37-20 victory. His 81.8 Pro Football Focus grade was Watt’s second best rating of the year.

Watt joins a defensive front that has relied on fellow end Zach Allen and gotten tackles Rashard Lawrence and Corey Peters healthy over the past few games.

In other moves, Arizona also activated linebacker Ezekiel Turner from injured reserved as well as elevated defensive lineman Zach Kerr and cornerback Kevin Peterson to the active roster as standard elevations.

The Cardinals travel to Los Angeles for a Wild Card matchup against the Rams. Tune to 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station for all the action.

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